UEFA President Michel Platini has laid out a plan to expand the World Cup to 40 teams, scrapping the current 32-team format.
The move was prompted by Sepp Blatter’s recent revelation that FIFA is interested in reducing the number of European teams participating in favor of adding more African and Asian countries.
According to Platini, his plan would only extend the World Cup by three days, adding more group stage matches by expanding each group to five teams, but still only the top two would advance.
“I totally agree with Mr Blatter that we need more African and Asian [countries]” said Platini. “But instead of taking away some European, we have to go to 40 teams. We can add two African, two Asiatic, two American, one Oceania and one from Europe.”
Platini wants his plan to be instituted by the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
It’s no shock that the president of the European governing body doesn’t want to see his region lose members taking part in the finals, but an increase to 40 teams seems a bit reactionary.
MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez is back with his club more than a month after the U.S. Treasury Department named him on a sanctions list for alleged drug trafficking ties.
Atlas said Monday that the 38-year-old defender is practicing with the team again.
In August, Marquez was among 22 people sanctioned by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He was accused of acting as a frontman for the Raul Flores Hernandez drug trafficking organization.
Marquez has denied any wrongdoing and said he will work to clear his name. He is not known to face any criminal charges in the United States or Mexico.
Atlas says Marquez will continue his legal fight while at the team.
Marquez has played internationally with AS Monaco, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls.
WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) Wolfsburg has hired Martin Schmidt to coach the Bundesliga side as a swift replacement for Andries Jonker.
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Jonker was fired on Monday after less than seven months in charge, with Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Stuttgart leaving Wolfsburg with four points from its opening four league games of the new campaign.
The 50-year-old Schmidt has signed a contract through 2019 and he will take charge of Tuesday’s game against Werder Bremen.
The Swiss coach left Mainz by mutual consent in May after almost three years in charge. Mainz finished last season in 15th place in the Bundesliga, above Wolfsburg on goal difference. Wolfsburg only survived in the Bundesliga last season by a winning a playoff.
More AP German soccer coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/Bundesliga
It wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete has tried his hand at another sport, but this one is a bit surprising.
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The Telegraph is reporting that ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is poised to become a professional boxer and is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday.
The 38-year-old has been a pundit for BBC and BT Sport since retiring from soccer 2015, but the six-time Premier League winner appears ready to tackle a new venture.
Ferdinand will attempt to follow in the footsteps of former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse — who went on to become British light-welterweight champion.
Below is a video Ferdinand posted to his Instagram account on Monday which appears to show him practice dodging with a personal trainer.
Paris Saint-Germain picked up its sixth consecutive win to start the Ligue 1 season on Sunday, but something else happened during the team’s 2-0 victory over Lyon that should be a show for concern.
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In fact, two notable sequences occurred during the match that proved money cannot buy chemistry — or how the saying goes.
The issues on both occasions were between summer signing Neymar and Edinson Cavani — who has been with PSG since 2013.
First, a free kick situation arose where Cavani had appeared that he was going to take the set piece, until Brazilian defender Dani Alves stepped in and took the ball and proceeded to give it to his national and club teammate, Neymar.
The second occurence was even more embarrassing though, as Neymar and Cavani argued over who would take a penalty kick, which Cavani ultimately got his way before having his shot saved by goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
Below is a video containing a piece of both instances.